Baghdad Nuclear Research Facility

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Baghdad Nuclear Research Facility - 10 March 1991. The Tuwaythah Nuclear Research Facility, Baghdad, Post-strike.

The Baghdad Nuclear Research Facility adjacent to the Tuwaitha "Yellow Cake Factory" contains the remains of nuclear reactors bombed by Iran in 1980, Israel in 1981 and the United States in 1991. It was used as a storage facility for spent reactor fuel and industrial and medical wastes. The radioactive material would not be useful for a fission bomb, but could be used in a dirty bomb. Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the facility was heavily looted by hundreds of Iraqis, though it is unclear what was taken.[1]

Until 1991, the facility was a nuclear research facility supposedly under the direction of Khidir Hamza. The facility is surrounded by a sand berm four miles (6.4 km) around and 160 feet (50 m) high, and contained the French-built research reactor Osirak, destroyed by Israel in 1981.

In April 2003, U.S. Marines discovered the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center and told reporters that they may have discovered a secret nuclear facility. The AP cited an expert who said that such a claim was implausible, and suggested that what actually happened is that the Marines broke the IAEA seals "designed to ensure the materials aren't diverted for weapons use - or end up in the wrong hands. 'What happened apparently was that they broke IAEA seals, which is very unfortunate because those seals are integral to ensuring that nuclear material doesn't get diverted,' the expert said, speaking on condition of anonymity."[2]

On 3 May 2003, a detachment of U.S. Army Special Forces led by United States Navy Commander David Beckett and eight nuclear experts from the United States Department of Defense's Direct Support Team conducted a survey of the facility, finding the looting, similar to the situation in the nearby Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center.

During the initial months of the occupation, Tuwaitha was protected by American forces and administered by contractors from the Raytheon Corporation. Complete control of the facility was turned over to Iraqi authorities in the Summer of 2004.

See also[edit]

External links and references[edit]


  1. ^ John H. Large (2004), Video and Other Material and Data acquired by Greenpeace International at and around the Iraq Tuwaitha Nuclear Site During 2003 (PDF), Greenpeace, retrieved 2006-07-23 
  2. ^ William J. Kole, "Experts Say US 'Discovery' of Nuclear Materials in Iraq was Breach of UN-Monitored Site", Associated Press 2003-04-10.

Satellite Images of the Baghdad Nuclear Research Facility[edit]

Coordinates: 33°12′14″N 44°30′49″E / 33.204007°N 44.513726°E / 33.204007; 44.513726